Sunday, August 26, 2012


After dropping our bags at the guest house we headed out to see Lemi. On the way to the orphanage Nicco explained that he had gained permission for us to keep Lemi with us for our entire visit. This was a huge surprise to us because we thought that we would spend the days with him but that in the evenings we would have to leave him. I had noticed that our room at the guest house had an extra twin size bed (thanks to Nicco) but really thought nothing of it until Nicco shared with us the good news of spending the week not having to say goodbye each night to Lemi.
On the way to the orphanage I was very nervous, excited, overwhelmed and full of emotion. I remembered having these same emotions when we were meeting Garrett and Tia for the first time yet this time my emotions caught me off guard. I had met Lemi two years ago as my sons best friend, yet now I was going to meet him as my son. Things had moved so rapidly with this adoption that I really had not had time to process what the first few minutes with him would be.
We pulled up to the large metal gate in front of the orphanage and Nicco blew the car horn. David and I sat in the car as we saw the guard open the small door on the gate. Nicco then explained who we were and then the guard said that he would get him as he turned and closed the door. I quickly said, "David, we have to get out! We can't just be sitting in the car when Lemi comes out."  We both jumped out of the car just in time for the door to reopen and there stood our son.
He pointed to David and quickly said, "Dad!" He then started to point to me as he said, "Mom!", but I quickly hugged him and tears started to roll down my face. I am sure that he had been longing for years to say those two words. They both rang in my head.......Dad........Mom! After a hug, I then placed his face in my hands just as I had done with Tia and Garrett and looked into his eyes for just a few seconds. The smile on his face was something that I can't begin to put into words- Pure JOY!
After a few more hugs we got into the car to head off to have some lunch. Much like we had experienced before, Lemi had so many first ahead of him. He had never been to a restaurant, never eaten at a table, never had pizza and the list goes on and on. The look on his face as we walked up the steps to the place where we were going to have lunch was priceless. His eyes were wide and his smile filled his entire face yet he had no idea what to do. He grabbed my hand very tightly and the best I could I explained that we were going to sit down and have lunch. He sat between David and I and didn't take his eyes off of us. The waitress brought us some bread (Dabo- a word I know :) ) and then she wanted our drink orders. We ordered him an orange soda (that is Garrett's favorite) without really knowing what he would want. When the waitress came back and opened the bottle top on his soda you would have thought that she was handing him the world. His enormous grin somehow managed to get bigger. Much like with our other children, we giggled as we watched him experience the fizzy taste of soda for the first time. He ate very little for lunch and only later did we understand and know why.
After lunch we took him out to shop for some clothes. He came to us with a shirt, a pair of pants, a jacket and a pair of shoes. We knew that if he was spending the week with us he would need a few more things and as Nicco explained that we were going to take him shopping he really had no idea what Nicco was talking about. Lemi has obviously never been into a store and so I knew that the afternoon ahead would be fun.
We pulled up in front of a children's shop and went inside while Nicco parked the car. It was a two story shop and we quickly realized that all of the baby and toddler clothing were on the first floor and Lemi's size clothing was on the second. We made our way upstairs and Lemi was in awe as he started to look around. This store was very small in comparison to stores here in America but to Lemi it was huge! Nicco came in and we explained that he could pick out three or four shirts and some pants. He was picking up any size and we finally got him to understand that not everything there would fit him. He picked several shirts and pants in his size and it was time to try them on. Instead of going into the dressing room, because obviously he had no idea what a dressing room was, he just started stripping down right in the middle of the store. David and I both laughed and we along with Nicco explained that he needed to go into another area to try on the clothes.
I am crying as I type this because the look on our sons face when he came out with  brand new shirt and a new pair of pants was something that is hard to describe. It is a look that I will never forget- He was so proud, so excited and he was beaming with a smile like I have never seen on a child.
After he picked out his clothes we then explained to him that he could find a pair of shoes to buy. I don't know why but to me being able to provide him with a pair of shoes that fit was a big deal. I know that he has never in his life had a pair of shoes that fit his feet and to think of a boy that is 8 or 9 years old never having shoes just breaks my heart. As we were helping him try on shoes I was reminded of watching our sweet Kaylee put shoes on Garrett's feet for the first time. There is just something special to me about giving our sons shoes for the first time- Maybe that is weird but just like I loved giving Tia her first dress that fit her, it made my heart happy to put new, fitting shoes on my sons feet!

To be continued............

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Time has been flying by and I haven't had time to sit and blog so for those of you who have contacted me here we go. I will start back at the very beginning of this journey:

As most of you know when we brought Garrett home a little over two years ago he talked about, prayed for and continued to ask us about his best friend Lemi. Lemi, Garrett, Tia and another young girl were brought off of Zadachu island on the same day and were in the same orphanage both is Zway and in Addis. While we were in Addis for six weeks for the adoption process for Tia and Garrett our entire family met Lemi and none of us could forget him. After almost two yers of praying for him to have a family we finally realized that God was chosing us to be his forever family.

In May, we started to get serious about the process of adding him to our family. We started our home study, all 8 of us had physicals (within a weeks time), we were fingerprinted a million times, police clearances granted, gathered paperwork and everything else that goes into getting paper ready to bring a child into our family by the way of adopting. This part of the process was somewhat easier this time because we had done it before but paperwork gathering for our family is never easy!

During this time we also contacted the agency we had used before to find out more information about Lemi but we were met with the fact that our agency was closed and was being sold to another agency. This could have been a major roadblock but instead God opened a door for us to move forward. We had been told by our new agency that since our home study and paperwork was not complete until late June that we should not expect to be filed for court until after the rainy season (August- October) and to not really expect him to travel home until around the first of next year. Our families hope and dream at the end of June was that he would be home by Christmas. (My personal prayer was that he would have a year as a Henderson before Megan goes to college- see previous blog)

David and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in May and to celebrate we planned a trip away for the first week of July. We were out of the country and unable to use our phones for the week and so much to our surprise when we turned on our phones we had several messages from our adoption agency explaining that they were ready to file for a court date for Lemi and needed a few more things from us. We were told that it would be a miracle to pass court prior to the rainy season but that they were going to try to get it scheduled. We were shocked and excited that God was moving this adoption along at a pace much quicker than we could have dreamed.

We were filed for court shortly after we returned from our trip and we received word that we were to be in Court in Addis on August 13th. That e-mail came at the end of July and for whatever reason (now I know why) we waited a few days to look into travel plans. We were so thankful that we waited because on August 1st, our agency called and said that our court date had been moved up and that we needed to be in Ethiopia on August 9th for our court date on August 10th. That meant that in less than a week we would need to make arrangements to travel, find a place to stay, get all six kids here taken care of, get Ethiopian visas and pray that one last piece of needed paperwork would come.We were thrilled but YIKES that is not much time. Little did we know then that we had much less than a week!

As soon as we got that call I sent our passports to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC in order to get Ethiopian visas. In the past you were able to purchase them at the airport in Addis but we have been told that any day they could discontinue that and the best thing to do is send them to DC in order to make sure that you can enter the country. On the website it says that there is a 24 hour turn around and so I mailed our passports overnight mail and included an overnight return envelope and knew that they should be back to us by Friday and Saturday prior to our early Tuesday morning departure. I checked that off of my long list and thought nothing more of it.

We started making plans and crossing things off of our to do list until late Friday evening when things all changed. David was looking at a few e-mails and came across an e-mail sent late on Friday afternoon that stated that the Ethiopian Embassy was running behind on returning Passports and Visas. He then questioned if ours had been returned. I quickly got on the UPS site to track them and found out that they had not left from the Ethiopian Embassy. This meant that even if someone sent them to us on Monday they would not arrive by our 7:30am flight on Tuesday. This was a BIG issue!The Ethiopian Embassy was already closed for the weekend and Monday morning would be to late to try and contact them. David and I were so unsure of what to do but we prayed and felt that God was saying to travel to DC and pick up the passports/visas. This would mean that we had to leave no later than Sunday and since it was very late Friday night before we realized this we were scrambling.

Early Saturday morning I made a phone call to Ethiopian Airlines to see if it was possible to change the first leg of our flight. We were thankful that our second flight was from DC and so that part would not need to be changed. At first they said no that they had no flights available on Sunday. I explained our situation and the lady very kindly worked for what seemed like hours to find a flight for us- that flight would leave at 5:30am on Sunday morning. It was almost lunch time when we had finally confirmation that in about 18 hours we would be leaving.......what about the kids, the dog, the needed paperwork, how would we get to the airport at 3:30am and the list went on and on. We have amazing friends and so quickly all of our list was covered and somehow we managed to pack and have everything together.

We arrived in DC at 7:30am on Sunday morning and crashed due to having no sleep the night before. We then enjoyed the city as much a we could knowing that on Monday morning they could or could not give us our passports. We woke up very early Monday and took the Metro to the Ethiopian Embassy. We arrived and sat on the front steps for almost an hour waiting for them to open. We were first in line and praise God after a few minutes our passports were located. They already had visas in them but they were waiting for a signature. By 9:30am we had passports in hand and we were able to enjoy the day knowing that the next day we could travel to Ethiopia to see our son.

Early on Tuesday morning we were greeted by our taxi driver who just happened to be from Addis. We had an enjoyable ride with him to the airport and as we got out of the cab David payed him. The driver quickly handed David back some money and said, "Please help someone who is poor in my country." I had to walk away as huge tears poured down my face. I thanked God for a man who wasn't willing to forget where he had come from and it made me think of my son Garrett. God reminded me yet again that we were leaving to go to Ethiopia because my son will never forget where he came from. He had urged our family for months to go and help his friend who was there with out a family. We were on our way to do just this- bring another son into our family!

David and I boarded the plane and I think we were both still in a little state of shock. All of this had happened so quickly and truth be told our heads had been spinning but now we had hours (plenty of hours) to sit on a plane and realize that this was it- Our family was expanding and the joy of that was amazing. After 13 hours of flying and what seemed like 14 hours of finding our luggage we were greeted by Nicco and we were off. We took our bags to the guesthouse and then we headed off to see Lemi.

To be continued........

Thursday, August 16, 2012

He Cares....

As I woke up this morning God reminded me yet again that He cares about every aspect of my life. A few months ago when we set out on the journey to add Lemi to our family I had one concern- It seems somewhat selfish but it was very important to me. If you know our family well you know that family is very important to us. My biggest concern was that Lemi would not be here in our home very long before Megan would leave for college. Instead of worrying I simply started to pray and share with God my heart.
I prayed that God would give our family a year together before Megan would leave for school. This may seem very small as you read this request but to me it was another mountain because we had been told that it would be after the rainy season in Ethiopia before we would even file for court and it could be months after that before he would be home. This would mean that Lemi would only be part of our family for a few short months before Megan would start college. I prayed knowing that I was asking the impossible but with faith I was being real with God about my hearts desire.
When David and I got the phone call a few weeks ago that we were ready to be filed in court we were away for our 20th Anniversary. As soon as I hung up the phone with our agency I cried over breakfast as I shared with David what my prayer had been. Honestly, I hadn't shared this with him before because I knew how unreal my desire was. As I shared with David it was as if God was whispering to me, "Mendy, I Care. I care about the smallest detail just trust me and ask. See what I can do...."
I am learning over and over on this journey of life that He does care and His ways are always the best-  Praising God that Lemi is a Henderson and Megan doesn't start her senior year for another week and a half- OUR GOD IS ABLE.......

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We are now a party of 9!

I haven't had much time to update our blog but I will carve out time to update with stories and photos this next week after we return home. We have wanted to spend every second with our new son and so updating this blog has not been a priority. Here are some basics:

We were thrilled that as soon as we flew into Addis we were able to pick up Lemi at the trabsition house and he has been with us the entire week- We were not expecting to have him 27/7 and we have LOVED it!

Lemi was thrilled to see u and as soon as the door opened he said, "Mom.....Dad". My heart melted as I hugged him for the first time!

The next day we went to the bus station and picked up Lemi's birthmom. We enjoyed 2 full days with her and those are days that we will never forget! Honestly most adoptive families don't get that time and for it we are so very thankful!

We found out while spending time with Busha (Lemis' birthmom) that Tizita and Geremew's grandmother and Lemi's grandfather are cousins meaning that their great grandparents are the same- How amazing is that?

Here are a few sad facts:

Our son has experienced a long period of time with very little food. It has been hard for his body to adjust to eating well and it breaks my heart. He was sick the first day or two but now he is feeling much better....

Power is now out......I am off will type more asap............